Kindred stakeholder opposes Humana merger

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The previously announced $4.1 billion acquisition of Kindred by Humana may have hit a snag, with one prominent stakeholder claiming the price is too low.

Brigade Capital Management, which holds a 5.8% stake in Kindred, said last week it opposed the takeover and would vote against the transaction's original terms. The company said the acquisition “severely undervalues” the company and ensures the buyers, rather than shareholders, will reap the benefits.

Kindred stockholders would be paid $9 per share of common stock, a premium of about 27% over the average price for the 90 days before the deal was announced.

Brigade Capital, however, cited an improved regulatory environment, Kindred's divestment of skilled nursing assets, a stronger third-quarter 2017 balance sheet and a hospital division “poised for improved performance” as reasons to believe greater value could be paid.

“In our view, the deal price is not reflective of Kindred's intrinsic value and will shortchange existing shareholders. Kindred is positioned for significant stock price appreciation,” Brigade wrote in a letter to Kindred CEO Benjamin A. Breier. “The Company has ample liquidity, no near-term debt maturities, and is expected to generate around $175 million of core free cash flow in 2018.”

A request seeking comment from Kindred leadership was not returned as of production deadline.